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Special Issue, Vol. 3, December 2008, pp.37-46





Membranous Bypass Valves for Discrete Drop Mixing and Routing in Microchannels


1 Minsoung Rhee and 1,2 Mark A. Burns

1 Department of Chemical Engineering, the University of Michigan

2300 Hayward St. 3074 H.H. Dow Building, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2136

2 Department of Biomedical Engineering, the University of Michigan

2200 Bonisteel Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2099

Tel.: 1-734-763-4024, e-mail: minsoung@umich.edu

Tel.: 1-734-764-1516, e-mail: maburns@umich.edu



Received: 31 October 2008   /Accepted: 7 November 2008   /Published: 8 December 2008


Abstract: A novel microfluidic component for discrete drop mixing in microchannels is presented. The membranous air bypass valve (MBV) in PDMS allows air to pass through it but stops liquid. Using the two-dimensional and three-dimensional MBVs, we removed the air between the discrete drops that were sequentially separated. The air removal then allows the drops to come in contact. The sequentially arranged drops then moved at a set velocity to achieve mixing. The resulting drop mixing occurs in three different regimes (diffusion-dominated, dispersion-dominated, and convection-dominated), depending on the Péclet number (Pe) and the drop dimensions. The time required to achieve sufficient mixing is controllable by changing the drop velocity, an operational parameter in the Péclet number. This MBV approach also enables precise control of the drop merging site. Experimental results for discrete drop mixing were in good agreement with the previous theoretical predictions.


Keywords: Drop mixing, Micromixer, Membranous bypass valve, Péclet number


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